Should the state try to keep the Falcons downtown?

Should the state get involved in keeping the Falcons from leaving their downtown nest?

Local hospitality leaders say a state House bill that would extend the hotel-motel tax collections that pay for the Georgia Dome is a good first step in keeping the team from flying off, AJC staffer Leon Stafford reports.

State Rep. Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek) is sponsoring a bill that move the sunset date of the taxes — currently pegged at 2020 — to 2045.

The bill stipulates that the extension is contingent upon keeping the Falcons on the campus of the state-operated Georgia World Congress Center, the Dome’s current home, Stafford reports.

With all of today’s economic problems, should the state be getting involved in this? Team owner Arthur Blank is capable of financing his own stadium.

On the other hand, the Falcons bring much-needed revenue to the heart of the city.

Are you in favor or do you oppose this tax extension for the Falcons?

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45 comments Add your comment

Dreman1731

January 29th, 2010
6:27 am

I’m in favor. I’m sure most of the Atlanta metro area should be in favor. Not many of us, have to go stay in hotel/motel’s around here, so the only complainers about the tax extension should be out-of-towners. I’m sure they’re going to be that are going to complain just for heck of it. But, it sounds like a sweet deal. I knew the state of Georgia couldn’t let me down. I don’t mind the state getting in involved in this with today’s economy, because this team is going to be around forever and we need some source of entertainment. So, nope. I don’t mind.

sigma6

January 29th, 2010
7:55 am

I mind a lot. The state should stick to government things and reducing taxes; not increasing them. That is one of the things wrong with government now – they try to control every aspect of our lives through taxing individuals so they can manipulate large companies and individual behavior.
As for the Falcons, they should move to a place far outside the city where the fans can enjoy the games and tailgate in a safe environment that does not have all the street people and crime that the city government of Atlanta refuses to address or even acknoledge. I would vote for Death Valley in Clemson, SC for a place that already exists. Otherwise build a whole new facility in some place like Commerce or Brasselton or go south to Perry.

Winkasdad29

January 29th, 2010
9:10 am

sigma6 is not being practical. I would not drive to Clemson, SC to watch a team that used to play in downtown Atlanta. The team is called the ATLANTA FALCONS. By the way, I’m sure the Carolina Panthers would block any move that infringes on their territory.

The tax deal is a good deal. Keep the Falcons here in Atlanta, where they belong. Sigma6, if you are afraid to tailgate in the present environment, then stay home and watch the game. It’s your choice to live your life in fear. In the meantime, I’ll bring my ribs, and whatever else, and my tailgate buddies and I will party!

Move the Falcons away from downtown – child, please! (with apologies to Chad Ochocinco)

Michael

January 29th, 2010
9:24 am

Staying downtown is the best situation for the Falcons. It is the most conveinent location for a majority of fans and season ticket holders. Moving the stadium would only cause a problem with a lot of fans getting to the game. The best idea would be to build the new stadium near the Georgia Dome and to plan for a lot more parking closer to the stadium.

Jimmy

January 29th, 2010
9:31 am

Having the Falcons is Atlanta makes sense. They increase tax revenues for the city and the state. The games help the local economy and having pro teams brings prestige to the state. Atlanta has the restaurants and hotel rooms to draw tourism that other cities in the suburbs do not have. Also, the stadium brings convention business to the city…again, a tax and economic asset. Companies find vibrant cities and their metro areas to be more attractive when considering relocation. This brings even more jobs and more money to the economy. It means more tax revenue for the state.

Rather than being a tax burden…it is a tax boon. A small adjustment in the allocation of state taxes is really a small price to pay for the long term benefit a new stadium can bring.

AtlantaBytes

January 29th, 2010
9:54 am

Tea party people are even on the Falcons blog now. Dump your bags elsewhere sigma6. The Falcons are presumably turning a corner and that is because of the investments made by Arthur Blank in our team. Showing them a little love for all they’ve done isn’t out of line in anyway. Also, there has been no mention of all the Blanks have done outside of the franchise. They are a valuable asset to the city of Atlanta and more so to downtown.

If you need anymore convincing on how important it is to keep owners happy, just remember what happened when the Braves lost Ted.

bob

January 29th, 2010
10:00 am

the falcons play 8 games in the dome. if blank thinks he can make money away from the downtown area, he should move and build whatever he wants at his expense. the only thing the move would effect would be downtown dollars. the vast majority of game attendees are local and over 8 games, spend more $$ than any 1 out-of-towner. it is about time the politicians and team owners thought about the people that live around here when it comes to traffic and jobs, and customer service. it won’t hurt atlanta’s tourist trap if the falcons move to the suburbs and there will be no need to put extra taxes on the things tourists buy and use while in the state.

Lynne

January 29th, 2010
10:01 am

sigma6…you want the Atlanta Falcons to move to South Carolina??

BWA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Well that proves you didnt really want anyone to take your post seriously! LOL

Rickey L. Baker

January 29th, 2010
10:03 am

I for one would love a new stadium location out in the burbs somewhere safe. Let’s have a much bigger parking lot to for tail-gate parties. I do attend a few Falcons, Braves, Thrashers, and Hawks games but I will be honest, those are not the friendliest places I’ve been to. I have a concealed weapons permit and hate it, but I’m always packing. The GM plant would have been perfect….Large and easily accessible for all….I think there were some shady politics in that sale.

Falcons Fan 4 Life

January 29th, 2010
10:25 am

I agree with Rickey Baker. I’m a season ticket holder and would love for Arthur to build a new stadium outside of Atlanta perhaps at the existing GM plant (if the New Broad Street mix use developement deal fails). Hell move it to Alpharetta off exit 10 Hamilton Mill. The land has already been cleared and a perfect spot for a stadium/hotels/bars/restaraunts and a park. City of Atlanta only cares about money and not about the safety or accomedations of the fans. Move the Falcons out of the ATL. GO FALCONS!

Jerry

January 29th, 2010
10:31 am

The Falcons are supposed to be a money making opportunity for the OWNER! If Mr. Blank doesn’t like the prospect he should sell. Where in the state or US Constitution does it provide for all of this intrusion and excess in our personal lives and choices?

Bryan

January 29th, 2010
10:37 am

Keep the Falcons downtown. This helps bring life into the city after the usual 9 to 5 traffic. All major successful cities have a night life in there downtowns. It brings in revenues for the city and there is more of a option to get there with MARTA having a station right there. Safety may be a concern so ask for more security or police in the area during games. I don’t want to go see the Doraville Falcons or the Alpharetta Falcons… I want to the the Atlanta Falcons.

kindergarden math

January 29th, 2010
10:37 am

The new site will be downtown and there will not be sufficient parking for the tailgating activities which other pro teams afford to their fans. The stadiums which give due consideration to tailgating opprtunities realize that such activities foster community sprit and socialization . It will not happen in Atlanta because (1) our traffic congestion will always be here and they will not want all of those cars flooding into the WCC area; they will preach the “Take MARTA “mantra,; and (2) Allowing tailgating on a massive scale will significantly impact their obscene concessions revenue. Additionally, rest assured that the seating will be uncomfortably squeezed together in order to sell a few thousand more tickets, rather than be concerned with the comfort of the seated people paying the bill. Lets face it, it is not going to be moved to the outlying areas where their fans would have a better quality gameday experience. They can give all of the lip service they want about how they care about the fans, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

Carlos

January 29th, 2010
10:38 am

I am totally in favor. Keep the Falcons an the new stadium in downtown Atlanta. Rebember the Dome also hosts other events that bring revenew to the city; such as the SEC championship, Chick-Fil-A kick off game and Bowl, NCAA basketball, etc. It wiuld be a shame to lose events as well…

They'll Stay Downtown

January 29th, 2010
10:40 am

First off, Blank is not looking to move the Falcons away from downtown, it’s the potential developers that have come up with various plans to build a new stadium IN and AWAY from downtown. Blank is just openly looking into the various options. He would not necessarily make more money moving the Falcons away from downtown, and the city (including the state) would lose money if it moved away from downtown.

Think about all the other activities fans do when they come for SEC champ/Chick-fil-a Kick Off Game & Bowl/ACC &NCAA basketball tournaments. You can go to the Aquarium, World of Coke, GWCC (which is a great atmosphere for families of out of town fans that are looking for something for their kids to do), and soon you will have the College Football Hall of Fame downtown. The dome is not just about the Falcons and the city of Atlanta because all the tourist, that come and stay in the numerous hotels and enjoy the different activities in downtown, spend money that contributes to the economy of the entire state (not just Atlanta). Atlanta makes up 51% of the state tax revenue but is only alloted 34% of assistance from state taxes. Like Jimmy said before, keeping the Falcons (and the subsequent new stadium) downtown is more of a boon for state taxes than a liability.

What we should focus on is improving the environment of downtown (concerning panhandlers and the like) rather than moving the Falcons out of downtown. If the people of this state would invest more in the city and realize that it is the economic engine, and source of possible future business growth, then the entire state would eventually benefit…not just the city of Atlanta.

Jon

January 29th, 2010
10:40 am

Move it to the burbs? Are you kidding me? You’re moaning about the big bad city, the same city that contributes far more to the state coffers than it takes out. And Blank wants to keep the team in Downtown more than anyone else as it will always be far more profitable staying in Downtown. A new stadium Downtown will bring the $uper Bowl back here in no time and make everyone happy. You really think the NFL will bring a $uper Bowl to freaking Gwinnett? No tourist in their right mind would show up for that one. You couldn’t pay me to go watch a game outside Downtown.

Nagaho

January 29th, 2010
10:46 am

I’m in favor. Most of the taxes (hotel) don’t affect residents. It’s also not just about the Falcons. The Falcons are only there 10 days a year. The GWCC needs to do its best to keep that venue busy.

And sigma6, seriously, moving the team is stupid and safety is far from an issue. During events the increased police presence and the number of people make it very safe. You can always ignore or say no to the occasional panhandler. Take it from someone who actually goes to (and usually walks to) events at the dome.

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
10:48 am

@Ricky The GM plant better than Centennial/GWCC area ARE YOU SERIOUS? Doraville is one of the highest crime areas in the Metro Area, have you been in that Brandsmart right next door…yikes. Actually Downtown has transformed very quickly since Kasim Reed has started to bolster the police force(didn’t vote for him but he’s made good so far) and the ambassadors that are on every corner actually seem to be doing their job now and discouraging panhandlers which are also becoming fewer and far between. I went to the Falcons Saints game in January before these changes had even taken place and walked from the Georgia Aquarium and everything seemed clean and i was never stopped once.

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
10:49 am

sorry I meant the game was in December

They'll Stay Downtown

January 29th, 2010
10:51 am

To piggy back off of what Jon has said, Arthur Blank simply wants a new stadium because the dome is outdated and the NFL will not bring the Super Bowl back to Atlanta until we get a new stadium. Do you think people would be interested in coming to a Super Bowl outside of Atlanta which has far more entertainment options than any place outside of downtown and the proximity to the airport makes it a more attractive place for the NFL to bring the Super Bowl back than moving it to the burbs

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
10:51 am

@ Falcons fan for life, how do you expect people not in Alpharetta to get to the game without MARTA we don’t all want to sit in our Yukons in traffic for 2 hours

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
10:58 am

The Georgia Dome has become somewhat of an icon especially in the southeast and SEC country. If they do build a new stadium it should be called the new Georgia Dome, the Dome is a symbol of when Atlanta used to be progressive and cutting edge and could look towards tomorrows growth. But why can’t they just do an existing renovation of the current dome like they did Lambeau Field, strip it down to the bones and make it a whole new stadium unless it really does cost much more to do that. By the way SEC Championship, Chick-fil-a Bowl, and college basketball tournaments in Alpharetta…keep dreaming you transit haters don’t even have then infrastructure to handle just the Falcons

J. J.

January 29th, 2010
11:08 am

No way…the current Dome is fine. If the Falcon’s owner wants a new Dome, let him build it with his money and the money of those wo want to profit buying share…

Outsider

January 29th, 2010
11:10 am

I am cool with the idea as long as it isn’t a football only venue. We don’t need an open air stadium here because people will not show up for games. However an open air stadium would be alot cheaper than a dome with a retractable roof. But the falcons have poor attendence!!

TMoney

January 29th, 2010
11:19 am

I’ve been to the Georgia Dome many a times, and I have to agree with Blank, the team needs a new stadium. The problem is location, as pointed out Arthur Blank can afford to build a new stadium on his own dime. I still think the old GM sit would have been perfect (and for transport between the MARTA lines, create a line between Doraville and Medical Center that has no other stops). But seeing as that’s out the window, the question becomes where else could a new stadium be located. There really is no room for one in downtown, and the Falcons don’t have anywhere else to play should the Dome be torn down and a new stadium put in it’s place. The main reason this is a problem is because of the shear size of a stadium. The footprint of the Dome is approx. 244m x 180m (800 ft. x 600 ft.) That’s a square area of 43,920 sq. m. (480,000 sq. ft.). That’s not an area of space that is readily available anywhere inside the perimeter, not without tearing down what is already there. It’s like I said early, the hard part is location, location, location.

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
11:26 am

TMoney, Arthur Blank has said they have another site on the GWCC campus, and if they did have to tear down the Dome the Falcons could play in Sanford Stadium for a season or two. The Bears played all the way in Chaimpagne while Soldier Field was being renovated. Heck they could probably play at Bobby Dodd I dont thnk they get much more than 50,000 a game anyway it would at least give them sell outs. But tearing down the Dome wasn’t an option they laid out, they have an adjacent site where they would build the stadium then the GWCC would take possession of the dome which they would turn into more expo space.

Doug

January 29th, 2010
11:29 am

It is absolutely preposterous that on the same web page that talks about public money to build a palace for multi-millionaire brats like Michael Vick and Arthur Blank, there is a story about Cobb County furloughing teachers. Not one dime of public money for any sports teams!!! They can move to Memphis for all I’m concerned. And Republicans, Republicans of all people, are the ones wanting to give away the money of hard-working people to fat cats. What a change that is? Not. Sure the Falcons might bring in some tax revenue, but uneducated Cobb County kids cost way more than the Falcons bring in.

Carlos

January 29th, 2010
11:37 am

Outsider,

In order to host the NCAA tournament and other events either a Dome or a retractable roof would be needed. An open stadium would not be able to host these events…

JJ, The Dome would be built with hotel tax money, it wouldn’t affect the geogia residents…If Arthus builds a new stadium with his own money, he will have to raise the ticket prices to hel pay for it…He is not in the charity business…

All I'm Saying Is...

January 29th, 2010
11:43 am

I’m fine with the state being involved and extending the tourist tax (a.k.a. hotel/motel tax) tax is a fine way for government to contribute.

The Falcons have a couple of options with respect to a new stadium downtown.

1) They could agree to support imploding the Georgia Dome and rebuilding a bigger, better version with a retractable roof and all the luxury suites you can shake a stick at. For a year or so they would have to play their games ‘on the road’ which could include games at various college stadiums willing to let them use it (which is what the NYJets did long ago playing games at the Yale Stadium (called the Yale Bowl) in Connecticut before they began playing at the old Shea Stadim). This could be college stadiums in Georgia and Alabama if necessary without intruding on any other NFL teams market rights and this would be a way to build their fan base by playing a game or two in Athens, U of Alabama, or Auburn, each of which have stadiums seating more than the Ga Dome.

2) They could build on the footprint that use to be Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and what is now a parking lot north of Turner Field. If you don’t believe me, simply type in Turner Field to maps.google.com and using the satellite view, you will see that there is plenty of space to construct a football only stadium in the area bound by Georgia Avenue on the south, Capitol Avenue on the east, Interstate 75/85 on the west, and Fulton Street on the northern end. And, with the right vision, a rail station could be part of the stadium complex with a light rail line extended directly to the new stadium from the closest MARTA station (eliminating the need to jam into buses) plus there could be some limited underground parking, and limited above ground parking for Falcon season ticket holders enabling a real tail-gating atmosphere.

LET’S GO FALCONS!

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
11:52 am

All i’m saying,
Great Idea with the stadium complex at the Turner Field spot. Then they can impload the Dome and expand the GWCC which they say is starting to trail convention centers in Orlando, Chicago, Vegas etc. Having both teams there may lead to the area development they hoped for with turner field. and they could build a small connecting line from the Georgia State MARTA station(which they should have done long ago for the Olympics) It would also give the new shiny dome great visibility from the highway, you can’t see the GA Dome from the connector and as stupid as it is out of towners love seeing that stuff as they drive in. The problem would be parking Braves games particularly in that lot are a mess, even at the ones nobody shows up to and underground or parking garages are hugely expensive though i suppose the Braves could cut them a deal on the land cost so that would help.

It would definitely be a big boost to the south downtown/capital/underground area they would get the crowds you see at CNN for the SEC and Falcons games and the CNN area wouldn’t really be hurt because that will always be the tourist area and there are plenty of new attractions such as the college football HOF to keep visitors in that area.

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
11:55 am

the problems would arise on days, where they have something like a soccer game the same night as the Braves play which happened a handful of times last season.

wxwax

January 29th, 2010
12:23 pm

1/ Should the state be funding the Falcons? It’s hard, maybe impossible, to compute the value that a professional football team adds to a city. You’d think having an NFL team plays a part when a company decides to move to Atlanta, bringing jobs with it. And it certainly adds to civic pride. But hard numbers are difficult to compute. Game day revenue is perhaps the least important financial contribution a pro team makes.

2/ Should the Falcons move within Atlanta? Ingress, egress and parking for the Dome are confusing, messy and a deterrent to attending games. If the site is rebuilt this needs to be addressed. Adding to the tailgating experience can only be a good thing. It seems crazy to say that an eighteen year-old stadium is out of date and puts the team owner at a competitive disadvantage in the NFL. In England’s Premier League teams are playing in stadia that are decades old. But that’s the reality in the United States; or at least, it will be once the recession ebbs.

3/ Downtown crime. I’ve spent a great deal of time downtown at Centennial Olympic Park, Philips Arena, the Convention Center and environs and I’ve never felt threatened nor had the need to pack a gun. I suspect that the people who raise this issue are working more from perception than experience and rarely actually visit the areas in question. Nevertheless if that’s the perception, then the City of Atlanta needs to find ways to reassure these Nervous Nellies that downtown is in fact safe. Eliminating the armed robberies near the Georgia Tech campus would be a fine way to start.

Base

January 29th, 2010
1:02 pm

No corporate welfare,let Blank and the falcons pay their way or let them go!

pete

January 29th, 2010
1:21 pm

stay down town , this is the people team. atlanta falcons , not the outside falcons, stay down town. and just build anew one.

Bob

January 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

It doesn’t matter to me where the Falcons play, I will be there. Would prefer Cobb County. It’s easier for me to get downtown than to anywhere you have to get on the perimeter from I-75 north.

Steve

January 29th, 2010
2:32 pm

If they want to keep it down town they need to improve the surrounding area and change the roads to support the traffic. And we have to have more affordable parking. $45.00 to some guy two bloks from the Dome I don,t think so. Move it north twords Cobb Co. but keep it in ATL. ok by me.

Nick G

January 29th, 2010
2:52 pm

I don’t care if the Falcon’s get a new stadium as long as it is downtown. I won’t even watch the games if they move from downtown.

mac

January 29th, 2010
5:02 pm

Move the Falcons & Georgia Tech and I will buy tickets.

why all the hate

January 29th, 2010
5:59 pm

you people who don’t feel safe in Midtown and Downtown probably haven’t been there in 10 years. I hear about people getting mugged or worse in Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Snellville etc.. at least weekly. But of course the AJC only reports when a Tech student gets assaulted in what is otherwise the safest area of Midtown and then they run and move their offices to Perimeter with the rest of the biggots I HATE GEORGIA but I love Atlanta. Burbs want to form Milton County I say Fulton and Dekalb form their own state and tke all our tax revenue with us.

TarHeelBred bleeds TarHeelBlue

January 29th, 2010
7:28 pm

Just to reiterate what quite a few other posters here have already stated, just like the current existing Georgia Dome, we must keep-in-mind that any new stadium constructed would host more than just eight Falcons games a year. Just like the Dome, a new stadium would, in addition to Falcons games, host high school football games (like the season-opening four-game Corky Kell Classic in August), college football games (the season-opening ACC-SEC Chick-Fil-A Classic, the Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic and the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl), college basketball games (SEC and ACC Tournaments and NCAA Regionals and NCAA Final Fours) and put Atlanta back into the running to host another Super Bowl in the future while giving the Georgia World Congress Center the opportunity to expand its expo space to stay competitive with other big-time convention cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando. A new stadium would also complement existing tourist attractions Downtown like Phillips Arena, Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium and planned future tourist atrractions like the College Football Hall of Fame, the Civil Rights Hall of Fame and the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Having a close promixity to all of the aforementioned tourist attractions and the GWCC is a very important and crucial reason why any new stadium that is built, if not another dome, should have a retractable roof and be built Downtown, preferably on the campus of the Georgia World Congress Center. Also, we can’t forget that the State of Georgia has a direct financial involvement in the Georgia World Congress Center as there are hundreds of millions of state-taxpayer dollars at stake, so it is to the state’s benefit to keep the Falcons in Downtown Atlanta with the construction of a new stadium on the GWCC Campus.

Ludwig von Mises

January 30th, 2010
8:03 am

The State (capital “S”) should not be involved in supporting private enterprise in any form.

ctfalconsfan

January 30th, 2010
1:53 pm

I have been a season ticket holder for 21 years and have HATED the Dome from DAY1 as we should always have an outside stadium in DOWNTOWN.
- Tear the Dome down and put a stadium up with a retractable roof so the GWCC can use the stadium for other events. We would have to play somewhere for 1 season, maybe Tech for preseason and UGA for regular season. We could also get the London game out of the way and play there one game just so we don’t have too worry about it later.
- Regarding crime in ATL?? I have never had any problems at the Dome, Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field YES but not the Dome.

falconidiot

January 31st, 2010
8:21 pm

Bring the team North Mr. Blank, that Vick loving bunch in the ATL no longer deserve a team. I won’t be coming down there no more after that spectacle.

J. Haney

February 1st, 2010
12:46 am

If downtown is the best, most profitable place for the Falcons, then they should pay for that, just like any other business. They are not like a real business, one that makes things, provide servics and builds real wealth. They are just a sports team. For goodness sake, can’t we break our addiction to pro sports — especially the most violent one of all — and put city money into things that really do help us build wealth, like public education.

ScienceTeacher671

March 9th, 2010
6:24 am

Agree with J. Haney — if the Falcons are a viable business, they don’t need government supports.

They also aren’t listed in the Georgia Constitution as one of the state’s obligations.

Education, on the other hand, is, and the General Assembly is so far refusing any taxes to support what they are mandated to provide…